Sue Bilgri dazzles through the drizzle.

1st Sue Bilgri 24 points

2nd Doug Myers 24 points [Countback]

3rd Brad Steel 20 points [Countback]

What a fantastic turn out with forty four people showing support for what has become a popular winter competition which this time around featured 66 rounds. Twenty two people played twice and by coincidence twenty two people played once. The weather may have played its part with a heavy drizzle on the course for part of Sunday morning but that didn’t stop some folk recording good scores and that included our winner. Sunday also saw the improvised comp within a comp for eight players who played 18 holes but included their front nines in the Natterjacks. Thanks guys. Well done Joe Shaw.

It doesn’t matter what your handicap is, to win you’ve got to play well by your own standards and Sue Bilgri did just that on Sunday with four 4 pointers including one on the last. With limited range on her shots and a net total of just 32 strokes this had to be a victory for accuracy. In discussion with our handicap secretary afterwards he was keen to point out that for the ladies Silecroft is a very tough course off the red tees, making Sue’s Sunday effort all the more admirable. So, on a tough links, in the cold and drizzle Sue produced her best ever golf and proved a worthy winner. But only just, because also out on the course was one Doug Myers, ex- rugby star, ex-veteran fly fishing world champion who also chose this day to bring his best golf. Doug’s was a story of consistency with six 3 pointers and three 2 pointers, no blobs, no 1 pointers, just good golf the whole way. So many of us have stood on the eighth tee with a good score only to blow up, and there were some yesterday but Doug took seven points from his last three holes and five of those were from 8 & 9. But successive pars on 4,5 & 6 were at the heart of his round where all the effort Doug’s put into his golf finally paid off. His score also catapults him up the Order of Merit charts.

At this point it’s as well to mention the Natterjack 9’s bonus scheme for high scorers  – nobody gets cut – because changes to the course conditions and rules means your handicap remains unaffected. Do I hear a collective groan from the rest of us?

Third place was also won on countback, with Brad Steel squeezing past Richard Roberts by virtue of his better last six holes. Both had 20 points. Pars on 1,3,4,6 & 7 and no blobs made for a consistent run of points and rescuing a point on the eighth helped too. Richard [aka Joey] Roberts had the best start of anyone with 4,4,2 providing 10 points off the first three holes. He too rescued himself, with 1 pointers on the fifth and eighth and can consider himself unlucky to have missed out on the prizes. Both have added considerably to their Order of Merit scores.

A host of players carded 19 points, including Gary Turner, who is now down to a handicap of just 13 but managed pars on 3, 4, 6 and 9 in his Saturday round. Geoff Freeman had 19 on Saturday and was in danger of a really good score until the last two holes. “I lost a ball and made a real mess of it!” He told me. The pleasure of his beloved Hatters taking three points off Bournemouth might have redeemed his weekend. Martin George’s 19 included a 4 pointer on the seventh while Paul Goodrick was another to have a birdie on the 3rd. Peter Clark’s round of 19 on Sunday, playing off a handicap of 10, contained the most extraordinary run of 4 strokes per hole from 1 through to 7. Fives on 8 & 9 completed his round in just 38 gross shots. George van Boyd’s 19 on Sunday almost mirrored that; playing off 10, recording a gross score of 38. Dave Warren was also steady away, carding eight two pointers and one three in his 19. Very consistent guys! Sue Driver’s highlight in her excellent 19 was a par for 3 points on the sixth and with playing partner Chris Lloyd-Rogers carding 18, with a par of her own on the sixth among her 18 points, it was a quite a day for the three ladies playing together. It was a brilliant weekend for Joe Shaw, with a birdie on the 4th in his 19 on Saturday but his 37 points over 18 holes on the Sunday made him the winner of the impromptu eight man comp.

John Simpson’s good run of form continued, following his success at last week’s Winter Alliance at Furness. His 18 points here included four for three on the first and last. Our Order of Merit leader Tony Waugh carded 18 on Saturday with a four for three on the fifth being the feature, Ian Swarbrick birdied the 4th for four points in his Saturday round of 18 points. Joe Burch played both days and had 18 points of his own on Sunday, with 3 pointers on 2,4 & 7. If it was a battle of the elders between Joe and Dave Maclardie then it was match drawn as Dave also posted 18 points on Sunday, including four three pointers and a blob on the second. Joe sounded full of surprise after his round,“It’s really caught on, this Natterjacks ‘asn’t it?” He asked. Which was easy to answer. On his way back to form following his operations John French matched theirs with an 18 of his own and recorded five pars along the way. It’s ‘old v young bull’ for father and son James and Finn Mallon, 18 each means matters are even for the moment. “He played some cracking golf.” James tells me. “He just missed a six footer on the third for birdie, then hit a great shot into the fourth green which just rolled through.” Yvonne Goodrick added 18 points to her Order of Merit score and could challenge in the ladies division if she takes more opportunities. John Phillips scorched through holes 2, 3 & 4 with three pointers on each in his 17 points.  Helen Holmes boosted her Order of Merit tally adding 17 points with three pointers on the first and sixth. “I couldn’t putt.” She told me. Neil Robertson [aka Gunga] birdied the 5th & the 7th but a misfortune on the third held his score back. It was points on every hole for Pete Warren and pars on 4 and 7 in his 17 points and it was the same story for Alan Holmes who also had pars on 4 & 7 for his 17. Son AJ found it tough off his handicap of 9 but still managed 16 points and Diane Clark scored the same, with three three pointers in her 16. Dave Clark played both days and recorded 16 points on each with the highlight being a birdie on the third on Sunday which brought four points. Vernon Edmonson posted 15 points with two blobs but remains on a handy mark. The 4th & 7th provided good scoring chances all weekend and Jon Holmes was another to seize the opportunities with pars on both in his 16 points. Men’s Captain Davey Boyce had pars on the 1st and the 9th but an indifferent middle section left him struggling with 14 points. Alan Eastwood couldn’t carry his form from the Christmas comp into this but had the consolation of a par on the seventh in his 14. Joan Myers carries the lowest handicap of all the women, just 17. As mentioned before this is a tough course for ladies and Joan struggled over both days here, her best being 14 points on Saturday which included two blanks. Pars for 3 points on the sixth and seventh showed what she’s really capable of. It was a rare appearance in the Natterjacks for George Farquar whose consolation was the company of good pals, a par on the third and a point for Utd.

Anyone thinking they’ve had a bad day might take solace from Ged McGrath’s weekend, which he has given me permission to write about. Saturday was particularly bad, bringing just 6 points after scoring on only four holes. What is worth remarking on here is that he came back on Sunday and tried again. Things got a little better but not much, 11 points and four blanks. We’ve all known bad days on the course but as we all know and Ged was keen to point out, you put it behind you and move on.

Order of Merit

Thanks to your support we’re able to extend the prizes for the men’s event to include 1st 2nd & 3rd and fund a separate prize and trophy for the winner of the women’s. We will also be adding prizes of balls for 2s as of the next round. Just to clarify; it is all one comp on the weekends but two comps, men’s and women’s for the Order of Merit.

1st Sue Bilgri 24 points

2nd Doug Myers 24 points [Countback]

3rd Brad Steel 20 points [Countback]

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